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Samir Chopra
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By: Samir Chopra In response to my previous post making note of the lock-out of faculty at Long Island University (LIU), a Facebook friend wrote on my page: So, I don’t understand. What makes university professors any different than people who work any other job? If you don’t like the... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra Some university administrators manage to put up a pretty good front when it comes to maintaining the charade that they care about the education of their students–they dip into their accessible store of mealy mouthed platitudes and dish them out every turn, holding their hands over their... Continue reading
From: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi To: All Jihadi Brothers In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. My warriors, after Paris, much work remains to be done. But we have many new recruits. They are infidels, but they have to come to our aid, they will do our... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra I cannot bring myself to celebrate the news of Steven Salaita's settlement with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC). The reasons for this are fairly straightforward--as noted in a petition now circulating: the crucial legal issues at the heart of his dismissal remain unresolved, and... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra Many years ago, I taught the inaugural edition of my Philosophy of Welding seminar. I began the semester by introducing some of the problems that would hold our attention during the semester: What is welding? How is it distinguished from other activities that claim to be welding?... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra In 'Observations on the State of Degradation to which Woman is Reduced by Various Causes' (Chapter IV of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman), Mary Wollstonecraft writes: Reason is...the simple power of improvement; or, more properly speaking, of discerning truth. Every individual is in this respect... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra Two weeks ago, on 8 September, after finishing my morning stint my gym, I headed to the Brooklyn College campus. I arrived at 12:20, five minutes after the 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM classes had ended. The campus was overflowing with students: streaming out from classrooms and... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra Charlie Hebdo has offended again. A recently published cartoon titled “So Close to His Goal”, shows Alan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler whose tragic drowning death sharply focused the world's attention on the desperation of the migrant crisis in Europe, lying face down on the sand near a... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra Last Friday (July 31st) my wife, my daughter, and I were to fly back from Vancouver to New York City after our vacation in Canada's Jasper and Banff National Parks. On arrival at Vancouver Airport, we began the usual check-in, got groped in security, and filled out... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra CS Lewis' Mere Christianity is rightly acknowledged as a masterpiece of Christian apologetics; it is entertaining, witty, well-written, clearly composed by a man of immense learning and erudition (who, as befitting the author of the masterful Studies in Words, cannot restrain his delightful habit of providing impromptu... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra Writing for The Stone, ('Can Moral Disputes Be Resolved?', New York Times, 13 July 2015), Alex Rosenberg claims: Moral disputes seem intractable....With some exceptions, political disputes are not like this. When people disagree about politics, they often agree about ends, but disagree about means to attain them.... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra Student evaluations can be flattering; they can be unfair; they can be good reminders to get our act together. A few weeks ago, I received my student evaluations for the 'Twentieth Century Philosophy' class I taught this past spring semester. As I read them, I came upon... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra In Shame and Necessity (Sather Classical Lectures, University of California Press, 2nd ed., 2008, pp. 68-69) writing on the ancient Greeks' conceptions of responsibility and human agency via the tale of Oedipus, Bernard Williams writes: [T]here is another aspect to responsibility, which comes out if we start... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra This past Monday, on 20th April, Christia Mercer, the Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, delivered the Philosophy Department's annual Sprague and Taylor lecture at Brooklyn College. The title of her talk was 'How Women Changed The Course of Philosophy'. Here is the abstract:... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra In The Morality of Law: Revised Edition (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1969), Lon Fuller writes: In this country it is chiefly to the judiciary that is entrusted the task of preventing a discrepancy between the law as declared and as actually administered. This allocation of function... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra In 'What is An Author', Michel Foucault writes: The author's name is a proper name, and therefore it raises the problems common to all proper names. (Here I refer to Searle's analyses, among others.') Obviously, one cannot turn a proper name into a pure and simple reference.... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra In 'The Clouded Prism: Minority Critique of the Critical Legal Studies Movement', Harlan L. Dalton wrote: I take it that everyone drawn to CLS is interested in specifying in concrete terms the dichotomy between autonomy and community. If so, talk to us. Talk TO us. Listen to... Continue reading
Sara, Those views I had echoed in my posts were not ones I held, but their being espoused by some folks I knew did make me hesitant. As for the therapy sessions, they gave me an opportunity to talk, openly and freely, and sometimes analytically--the importance of which, in coming to grips with my many anxieties and insecurities, and in dealing with not-yet-processed grief, cannot be understated. There was obviously a great deal of personal archaeology but I never felt any of it was irrelevant in dealing with my preoccupations then. I went twice a week, and often, my sessions did fire-fighting, dealing with some current crisis. But in exploring why I had the reactions I did, I learned a great deal about myself--knowledge which stood me in good stead later. It is an indulgent experience but that's precisely as it should be--you get a chance to work through long-standing problems with a listener who is sympathetic and hopefully, a partner in this process of change.
By: Samir Chopra Reading some of the discussion sparked by Peter Railton's Dewey Lecture has prompted me to write this post. In the fall of 1996, I began studying for my Ph.D qualifier exams. I had worked full-time at a non-academic job for the previous year, saving up some money... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra I'm teaching Wittgenstein this semester--for the first time ever--to my Twentieth-Century Philosophy class. My syllabus requires my students to read two long excerpts from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations; bizarrely enough, in my original version of that exalted contract with my students, I had allotted one... Continue reading
By: Samir Chopra Some six years ago, shortly after I had been appointed to its faculty, the philosophy department at the CUNY Graduate Center began revising its long-standing curriculum; part of its expressed motivation for doing so was to bring its curriculum into line with those of "leading" and "top-ranked"... Continue reading
Dear John, Your substantive points are all good ones, and I accept them. In my follow-up, I had sought to establish the existence of a pattern of silencing by providing some autobiographical detail. This still only paints a partial picture of what I think is an active marginalization--to modern academic philosophy's loss--of many valuable philosophical traditions.
Jennifer, Thanks for this very rich comment--especially with all the references you've provided. Much appreciated. There are issues here of attribution that I hope to address in another post very soon. best, Samir
Dear John, I did not name Wesley in my original post. I made clear my issue is not with particular individuals but with attitudes, of which I took his quoted remark to be an instance of because of its content and phrasing and timing--as I pointed out. You see his comment as a 'correction'; I see it as a 'clarification'. Perhaps we could have an extended debate--linguistic analysis at its best!--about when a clarification is actually a correction. But if you prefer 'correction' so be it--as your emphatic italicizing of the word suggests, you are very invested in this interpretation of Wesley's comment. I welcome the correction, then. I don't know what kind of scoreboard of injustices rendered and sustained you maintain, but feel free to make an entry that reads 'Wesley - 1; Samir - 0'. Feel free too, to make this about particular individuals and to ignore the larger issue I'm raising. But perhaps you will only be assuaged by some form of groveling apology from someone who clearly seems to have an irrational chip on his shoulder. And with that tendered, we can all get on with business as usual.
By: Samir Chopra In response to my post on an act of philosophical silencing, Wesley Buckwalter wrote the following comment: As you know, I was the gentleman that made that remark in a private facebook thread with a close friend. If I recall correctly, people in that thread were asking... Continue reading